Foot-and-mouth disease (fmd) remains one of the most important livestock diseases of the world, given its highly infectious nature, its broad economic impacts on animal wellbeing and productivity, and its implications for successful access to domestic and export markets for livestock and products. The impacts of the disease vary markedly between developed and developing countries, and also within many developing countries. These differences in impact shape some markedly heterogeneous incentives for fmd control and eradication, which become of particular importance when setting priorities for poverty reduction in developing countries. Some consider that the benefits from fmd control accrue only to the better off in such societies and, as such, may not be a priority for investments targeted at poverty reduction. But is that view justified? Others see the control of fmd as a major development opportunity in a globalised environment. In this paper, Brian Perry and Karl Rich summarise the differential impacts of fmd and its control, and link these findings with the growing understanding of how the control of this globally important disease may contribute to the processes of pro-poor growth in certain countries of the developing world.
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